Karen McLeod is a resident of British Columbia, but has been living in Sackville since November, caring for her mother, Dodie, who has dementia. (Submitted)

Karen McLeod is a resident of British Columbia, but has been living in Sackville since November, caring for her mother, Dodie, who has dementia. (Submitted)

‘She needs constant care’: B.C. siblings denied entry at border leaves family in difficult situation

Karen McLeod and her mother are limbo after her siblings were denied entry into the province under a compassionate care exemption to pandemic restrictions

By Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph Journal

Karen McLeod is a resident of British Columbia, but has been living in Sackville since November, caring for her mother, Dodie, who has dementia.

This month, she planned to head home to her seasonal job as a deckhand with B.C. Ferries, while one of her siblings came to New Brunswick to look after their mom. Now, both she and her mother are limbo after her siblings were denied entry into the province under a compassionate care exemption to pandemic restrictions.

“I’m trying to remain calm, but I’m quite stressed,” McLeod said.

“I really don’t know what I’ll do. If I have to stay I will,” she said, while acknowledging that may have consequences to her job in B.C.

McLeod came to New Brunswick, her childhood home, last fall to care for both her parents. Her mother, 89, can no longer live alone. Her father, who died in February, was a resident of the Drew Nursing Home. When pandemic restrictions closed care homes to the public, she got a housekeeping job at the Drew so she could continue to physically care for her father, a decision she’s glad she made.

The plan was for her to stay in New Brunswick until spring, when one of her siblings would take over, McLeod said. But the government has denied entry to both of her siblings, who are also not New Brunswick residents, even if they follow all required isolation procedures.

When the compassionate care request was denied, McLeod called the province and/or wrote to the travel registration email listed by the government, every advocacy organization she could think of and the Red Cross. She then wrote to multiple ministers and politicians, outlining why she was appealing the decision and seeking their response. As of Wednesday at noon, she had received responses from Sackville-Tantramar MLA Megan Mitton as well as Green Party Leader David Coon. But the denial remained in place.

McLeod said she was told by border personnel that entry might be possible if one of her siblings was willing to come to the province for three months straight, but given their work schedules, the family planned to have one sibling come for June and another to take over in July, she said.

This Times & Transcript asked the Department of Public Safety to clarify this policy, but they did not respond by press time.

While her mother receives some home care, it isn’t the 24-hour care she needs, McLeod said. The family has looked into hiring a caregiver, but has had difficulty finding someone available to provide this type of service in the area, and she fears her mom may be disoriented having people in her home she doesn’t recognize.

“She needs constant care,” McLeod said, noting leaving her alone overnight is not an option.

Mitton said after government tightened restrictions on compassionate care, she is too often seeing cases where one of her constituents’ care is in jeopardy. “We don’t have an excess of care and home-care workers in our community,” she said, adding this was the case even before the pandemic.

McLeod said she does not see how denials like her family experienced align with the province’s “Home First” strategy which promotes providing care to seniors in their own homes as the most appropriate and cost-effective solution.

Mitton said she has been advocating since January for the province to look at compassionate care exemptions and make changes so noone is cut off from their care support, but few exemptions have been. She said she is seeing cases similar to this every week and her community is particularly suffering given how many people in the region usually receive care from someone on the other side of the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border who are being told they cannot cross unless their relative has died or is palliative.

Coreen Enos, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, said an appeal process does exist. “In cases where travel registration is denied, there is a process available to have the traveller’s application to travel into New Brunswick reviewed. Travellers must reach out by email at TravelRegistration.EnregistrementVoyage↕gnb.ca or call 1-833-948-2800.”

That has not yet resulted in a change for McLeod. Enos said she could not comment on specific cases.

Social workers through the department of Social Development are available for families to explore care options whether that be in a long-term care or home care options, said Enos.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

border agencyCoronavirus

Just Posted

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Creston’s high school

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for the former Prince Charles Secondary School

A new doctor has been recruited for the Creston Valley. (Pixabay)
New doctor recruited for the Creston Valley

Dr. Luke Turanich is expected to begin practice in late summer/early fall

Fire at the former Alpine Disposal, and now GFL recycling facility, on Hwy 22 South of Trail. Photo taken just before 6 p.m. Monday June 21. Photo: John Piccolo
Update: Industrial fire rages outside Trail on Monday

Photos: The fire is reported to be at the GFL recycling facility

Kootenay forests are unusually dry for this time of year. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
On summer’s cusp, Kootenay forests are at record dry levels

Southeast Fire Centre says 4 months of unusually dry weather have had effect on the region’s forests

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read